New York City Winter Movies tour

Whether you are visiting New York City during the Winter or Christmas, or are just at home and want to see some nice family movies during the Holidays, here are my 5 favorite movies to watch in the Winter time. And maybe you can go visit the film locations in New York City! Check my New York City Winter Movies Tour, starting with no. 1 on top:

1. Home Alone 2 Lost in New York

This is the all-time favorite, not-to-miss movie starring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin, who by accident gets on the wrong plane and flies to New York City by himself, instead of Florida with his family. While the Plaza hotel does exist (it is now half a residential building and half a hotel) The toy store in the movie does not really exist -the movie's toystore "Duncan's Chest" was filmed in Chicago - this is the movie's version of FAO Swarz, a toy store a few blocks to the East of Plaza Hotel, on 5th Avenue. You can go there and enjoy the toys. Go see the movie, and go see the Plaza hotel from Central Park. You can also book a room here and order room service just like Kevin did in the movie. I also love the Home Alone 2 trivia, as there are more interesting facts to this movie and film locations.

The Trailer of Home Alone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0kJieJ1k6k

2. Serendipity

Probably one of my favorite romantic movies ever made. A lot is filmed around New York City in the Winter. It is a very nice movie for the Winter nights, with lots of love, Winter season activities and snowflakes. The story is about how Jonathan (John Cusack) and Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet at a kiosk at Bloomingdale's to buy gloves. Sara decides it should be faith if they should meet again,and she writes her phone number and name in a book. Jonathan writes his number on a dollar bill. The whole movie you see them trying to find each other's phone number and hoping destiny will bring them together.There is actually a restaurant in New York City named Serendipity 3 (225 E 60th street, between 2nd & 3rd avenue), and that's where a few scenes in the movie are filmed. Jonathan and Sara share a Frozen Hot Chocolate here, a famous drink from Serendipity they even trademarked. It is not so healthy but so fun to go and have one yourself!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePU2Ux9JIMM

Other places you should visit are Bloomingdale's (1000 3rd avenue & E 59th street) where Sara and Jonathan meet, The Waldorf Astoria hotel (301 Park Avenue between 49th & 50th) where Jonathan's wedding takes place, Wollman Rink in Central park where Jonathan and Sara are going ice skating and where they reunite. More locations of this movie you can find HERE>, as they also were filming in my neighborhood, as well as some unknown trivia questions HERE>

3. A night at the Museum

A fun movie with Ben Stiller, who plays Larry who becomes a guard in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (Central Park West & 79th street)  He is supposed to " not let anything in, and not let anything out". He later finds out what that means when he is by himself at night at the museum. (This movie was also directed by Chris Columbus, who also directed Home Alone 1 and 2.).

The Trailer of A Night at the Museum

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2G-8raHvOU

 

4. Elf

A true Christmas movie. Buddy (played by Will Ferrell) is an adult human who was raised by elves. He is going to New York City to meet his real father Walter Hobbs (James Caan) who is on Santa's naughty list. If you watch this movie you want to go visit the Empire State Building (350 5th Avenue at 34th street) and you want to go see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center (5th Avenue between 49th & 50th street). A joyful funny movie for the whole family!

The trailer of Elf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW9wRNqQ_P8

5. Noel

They want us to believe it is all filmed in New York City, but most of it was in fact filmed in Canada. So it should not really be on this list. You do see Rockefeller center and other nice shots of New York City in Winter/Christmas time. But as Paul Walker has a lead roll in it next to Susan Sarandon and Penelope Cruz,  I thought it was a nice gesture to include this movie in my top 5 list in his memory.

The trailer of Noel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLjj5EwviQY

 

p.s. I found a great website with more New York City film locations of all your favorite New York City movies in one place: On the set of New York

 


How to survive the Holidays

Hi everyone! Wishing you happy holidays and a wonderful New Year. Hopefully this year will bring you joy if you want to find happiness, and some relief when the past year was tough on you. Here are my tips on how to survive the holidays!

Holidays & Traditions Youtube video

I made a video called " Holidays & Traditions" to give you tips on how to survive the holidays. I give you an insight how I spend my Christmas. I even give tips on Christmas gifts: It is the thought that counts!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnUfsYgzbo4

Start your own Holiday traditions

I have made one thing my yearly tradition: Sending people I care about homemade Christmas cards! This way I spread the Holiday Cheer, on my terms. I really like making them myself. Check out our Christmas card of 2019 below featuring my lovely dog Bane.

Thoughtful Gifts

It is not about the price of the gifts, it is the thought that counts! Give something special. Something handmade, or picked out with a lot of thought. You can also give someone a donation to a charity (below are 10 great options to donate to in someone else's name!) And if you shop on Amazon for gifts, please make sure to use Amazon Smile, as you can then pick a charity of your choice to donate too!

How to deal with family and friends

A Dutch research found that 50% of dutch people think the Christmas Dinner is mandatory. They are not really enjoying themselves as much. 25% prefers to continue working ( a big chunk!) and 17% of people seem to argue during the Christmas dinner or Holiday party.

Isn't it time you spend your Christmas exactly the way you want to? It will save you a lot of stress and... money! Just think of the gifts you don't have to buy and the conversations you don't have to avoid. If things are unsaid between family members or friends, maybe avoid Christmas dinners with them to avoid escalation. Because it is not a time to speak about the issues, but when one thing goes wrong, people might burst out! Apparently this happens quite a lot! When people put so much pressure on other people to dress up, bring gifts, cook amazing food, be in the party-mood, and have a great time all together, there is so much risk of failure.

My tip to avoid arguments during the Holidays

Avoid these people altogether, and celebrate the way you want to, only with the people you love and who make you feel good. This means less stress, and more happiness! Bring on the true Holiday Cheer!

Don't overeat

Everyone will probably overindulge during Christmas, and that is ok, but know that the first bite is always the most satisfying! The bites after that are less and less satisfying. So really enjoy the first bites, eat slowly, so your brain has time to notice that your stomach is getting full. Also, if you don't overeat, you also don't have to go on a diet beginning of the year!

Help Others during the Holidays

I ask you to help others who find themselves in an unfortunate position during the cold winter days. I wrote an article with My 10 Charities to give to this year. 

READ MORE: Helping the homeless during the cold days

READ MORE: Five tips for a Good Heart

Let me know on Twitter what you thought of the video, subscribe to my Youtube channel, and let me know how you are/were celebrating the Holidays.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Lonneke


Abi's Pumpkin Pie

Hi again! How's everyone?

Most people who know me know I prefer raw desserts (especially RAW CHOCOLATE!) but every now & then I'll cook an old fashioned favourite with local organic ingredients. Tonight I'm treating the family to pumpkin pie for dessert & I quickly jotted down the recipe as I went so I could share it with you. :) I haven't made it for years! Pumpkins are so fresh and lovely at the markets just now. I use fresh organic eggs in this recipe, because I have well loved hens of my own, but you could replace these with chia seeds.

BEGIN WITH:

2 cups pumpkin (I used the 'jap' variety, butternut is also lovely)

2 cups dates

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 cup water

COOK TOGETHER until most of the water is absorbed and the dates & pumpkin soft. Place into blender, then ADD:

1 270ml can coconut cream

3-4 organic eggs (OR two tablespoons chia seeds + 3/4 cup water)

1 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon natural vanilla

2 tablespoons organic maple syrup, coconut sugar or extra dark brown sugar

Extra cinnamon for sprinkling on top

BLEND until smooth. Pour into prepared crust (below), sprinkle with cinnamon & BAKE 45 minutes in a fan forced over at 175'C or until the pie is nicely set through & slightly browned.

SPELT CRUST:

So simple!

2 cups wholemeal spelt flour

1/2 cup oat bran

1/4 cup rice bran oil OR use a little organic butter in place of part of the oil

1 tablespoon organic coconut sugar or extra dark brown sugar

Water. Just enough to bind.

MIX. Press into a lined pie dish & bake until semi cooked at 180'C.

I served the pie at room temperature with pure coconut yogurt & extra maple syrup

 

Actually quite nutritious & high in protein, good fats & fibre this pie would be perfect served after nice salad with lots of dark leafy greens or as it is with a pot of tea!

Love & chocolate xxx Abigail

First published by Abigail O'Neill on March 19th 2012, updated in 2019

This recipe is great for Thanksgiving too!


Christmas in New York City top 5 things to do

When you are in New York City in December, there is a lot to do for grownups and kids. And they are not all pricey. In fact, some are for free! Here is my top 5 activity for Christmas in New York City.

NYC snow

1. Go see the Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes at Radio City Hall

I have been many times and I still get mesmerized by the wonderful performance and Christmas theme of this show. If you are in NYC in November or December, you must try to get tickets to see the show. It will definitely give you the Christmas spirit. In the busy Holiday season the Rockettes have up to 6 (!) shows a day! (price depends on date and time) They are performing until the end of December/beginning of January.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OURaHfpKE6Q

 

 

2. Watch Home Alone 2 and go see the Plaza hotel

When in Central Park, go ice skating at Wollman rink, and then walk over to the Plaza hotel. You can also go into the Plaza for a Breakfast buffet in the morning.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5h9VDUNtoto

 

3. Take a trip to Rockefeller Plaza

You can see the biggest Christmas tree you will ever see! You can  go iceskating there too. And if you turn around, across the street of 5th Avenue, you can see the 3D show at Saks Fifth Avenue at night!

Home Alone Christmas Tree

During the Holiday season, Saks Fifth Avenue always had huge snow flakes ornaments on their building that would light up with a musical show,  but in 2013 they unveiled their 3D show on the building that they perform every night from 5pm to 11pm. You just have to wait and see when the show starts! (free)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QofG21QwMw

 

4. Go drink frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3

The best Frrrozen Hot Chocolate in the World you find at Serendipity 3, a great place for kids and adults alike to go to after ice skating at Wollman Rink, just like Sara and Jonathan in the movie Serendipity did. Don't count the calories... it is a Holiday after all, right?

serendipity frozen hot chocolate

5. Go shopping for gifts at the Holiday Market at Columbus Circle at the South West corner of Central park, or  Union Square South.

Union-Square-Holiday-Market-4

These  above attractions are all uptown around Central Park South except Union Square Holiday market.

If you want more inspiration read my post on the NEW YORK CITY WINTER MOVIES TOUR where you can find more NYC places you can visit!

Happy Holidays!

Love, Lonneke


Nan's Christmas Pudding

So as it turns out, even prided experienced cooks like me can take days to create the perfect Christmas pudding.

I've been using my Nan's old cookbook... a scrible book actually, where Nanna jotted down bits 'n' peices she liked, aswell as her prized trademark recipes. There are several pudding recipes... LOL & I managed to choose one which wasn't so flash first up... being made WORSE by me grabbing a blue cloth. Hmmm!

Oh well... practice makes perfect... & pictured here is my newly 'Organiced' Nan's pudding just before I popped it into the seething water to boil 6 hours! OHHH THE AROMAS.

RECIPE:

  • 60g glace cherries, chopped
  • 250g organic raisins
  • 250g organic currants
  • 250g organic sultanas
  • 3 Tbsp rum, (I used 2/3 cup I like cooking with RUM)
  • 250g organic butter
  • Rind of one organic lemon, grated, plus a little of the peel, FINELY chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups extra dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain organic flour (may use spelt)
  • 4 beaten organic eggs
  • 1/2 teas of each: salt, mixed spice, nutmeg, ginger (I used fresh grated), cinnamon & carb soda (I used alluminium free b/p)
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (I used white spelt bread & made my own crumbs in the food processor)
  • One organic calico pudding cloth (NOT BLUE).

METHOD: Soak all dried fruit in rum overnight with the lemon zest & peel & spices. In the morning, add melted butter, sugar. Mix. Add flour, eggs & breadcrumbs & alluminium free baking powder. Wet & squeeze out calico cloth, lay on table & sprinkle one tablespoon flour in a circle in the middle. Pop pudding mix in, tie tightly with string & knot the top. Boil slowly 6 hours, keep topping up water if needed. On Christmas day… gently re-boil pudding two hours. Serve with organic cream for a once in a year treat! I’m made an organic vanilla-pod ice-cream today to serve with ours.

LOVE & chocolate xxx Abigail


INA NYC: A vintage treasure

With the holidays coming up we are all looking for those special outfits for parties, events and all those work related holiday parties!

You could make your way to any designer boutique or store and pick out brand new (& expensive) pieces, but I think buying vintage and beautiful clothing is just as satisfying and at the end of the day way more unique. You can guarantee that no one will be wearing the same thing!

Lonneke introduced me to this store a few months back and I love it!

INA

http://www.inanyc.com/

A little bit of background information:

INA is New York’s most established designer consignment store. Since we opened in 1993, we have been accepting only the finest designer clothing, shoes, accessories, and select vintage, all carefully curated by our trained staff. In addition to choosing merchandise that is only of the highest quality and condition, INA staff are attuned to current fashion trends, as well as being collectors and followers of couture history, examples of which often find their way into our stores. With an extensive network in the fashion business, from designers to business owners, stylists, editors and models, INA often receives current pieces and limited edition items that could be seen in the designer's store on Madison avenue or in SoHo.

If you are in New York on vacation or you live here, it is an incredible store to check out as you truly will unearth a treasure!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the Holiday Season!